For years, Wells Fargo workers at the Committee for Better Banks have been sounding the alarm over the bank's predatory business model and unreasonable sales goals, which force workers to cheat customers in order to keep their jobs. This pushed workers to open more than two million fraudulent accounts. But committing “two million felonies” is just the tip of the iceberg. Wells Fargo has been preying on communities across America for years, especially communities of color. Whether it's engaging in discriminatory lending, profiting from private prisons and immigrant detention centers, funding payday lenders, financing the Dakota Access Pipeline, supporting police foundations, or selling predatory municipal finance deals to our cities, states, and school districts, Wells Fargo's business is built on stripping wealth from our communities. We're fighting back.
ACRE Condemns Wells Fargo’s Most Recent Attempt to Avoid Accountability with Forced Arbitration
August 24, 2017
Wells Fargo was in court today attempting to dodge accountability for widespread misconduct by invoking forced arbitration clauses hidden in the fine print of its customer contracts. Wells Fargo argued to the court that any claims of wrongdoing must be brought one-by-one in a secretive arbitration system, because they know that banks that rip off their customers fair much better in the arbitration system than in courts of law. In fact, when forced into arbitration, the average consumer ends up paying their bank or lender $7,725. This case is happening just as the Senate considers repealing a recent rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that would restrict forced arbitration so that banks like Wells Fargo can’t engage in predatory practices without consequences.
ACRE Co-Director Saqib Bhatti says “Forced arbitration is yet another way for Wells Fargo to continue to rip off communities of color. Wells Fargo has a history of targeting Black and Latino customers in particular for some of its most predatory practices. Now the bank is trying to avoid accountability by forcing its customers into a rigged arbitration system instead of giving them a fair day in court. This will make it harder for the families that Wells Fargo has preyed on to get their money back, and it will cost communities of color millions of dollars. We cannot allow it to happen.”
The case is Dolores Gutierrez, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank and it involves the reordering of debit card transactions to maximize overdraft fees, an illegal and harmful practice that affected more than a million of its customers andhit its low-income and communities of color hardest. In 2011, Bank of America settled similar class claims for $410 million; in 2012, JPMorgan Chase settled for $110 million. Wells Fargo is the only big bank that has refused to resolve this issue. The CFPB rule restricting forced arbitration will not affect pending cases, but it will ensure consumers can join together in class actions against banks like Wells Fargo in the future. This rule will help reduce incentives for banks’ predatory behavior and ensure that consumers have a shot at justice.
4/25 National Day of Action
Wells Fargo is having its annual shareholder meeting on April 25th at the Sawgrass Marriott, a golf resort on an island off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. Since community leaders shut down its shareholder meeting in 2012, the bank has gone to great lengths to hold its shareholder meeting in obscure, faraway places so that its executives can hide from the families whose lives they destroy year in and year out. We want to send a clear message to CEO Timothy Sloan and other Wells Fargo executives: You can run, but you can't hide. We will find you wherever you are and force you to come face to face with the lives you have wrecked. We're calling for a national day of action against Wells Fargo on April 25th.
SIGN UP TO DO AN ACTION! Grab five friends and head to a Wells Fargo branch near you to deliver the Forgo Wells petition on April 25th.
Dear Wells Fargo...
Please join us in on calling on Wells Fargo to take steps to start to repair the damage it has done to communities across the United States and around the world by signing onto our Dear Wells Fargo letter, below.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE LETTER as an individual.
If your organization would like to sign onto this letter, please fill out this form.
#ForgoWells City Council Resolution
Moving our public dollars out of Wells Fargo
If Wells Fargo admits to cheating its customers, then there is no reason why any city in the country should do business with the bank. A growing number of cities and states are standing up and refusing to do business with Wells Fargo in the wake of the scandal. Join the movement and demand that your elected officials pass the #ForgoWells Resolution and stop doing business with Wells Fargo.
Click here to download the #ForgoWells City Council Resolution. The resolution can easily be adapted for state legislatures, county commissions, school boards, and other public bodies. You should tailor the whereas and resolved clauses to the issues and actions that make the most sense for your locality.
Click here to download our fact sheet about moving government business out of a bank. This document can help you evaluate which demands might make the most sense for your campaign.
The Wells Fargo Scandal in the News
- Wells Fargo just lost its accreditation with the Better Business Bureau
CNBC, October 20, 2016
- Wells Fargo Scandal Crackdown Spurred by Employees, Union
Bloomberg BNA, October 20, 2016
- Voices From Wells Fargo: 'I Thought I Was Having a Heart Attack'
New York Times, October 20, 2016
- California Investigates Whether Wells Fargo Committed Criminal Identity Theft
NPR, October 19, 2016
- Wells Fargo Chief Abruptly Steps Down
New York Times, October 12, 2016
- John Stumpf's Wells Fargo Racket Shows Why Bank Workers Need a Union
The Daily Beast, September 28, 2016
- Wells Fargo Warned Workers Against Sham Accounts, but 'They Needed a Paycheck'
New York Times, September 16, 2016
- Wells Fargo to pay $185m for aggressive, illegal sales tactics
The Guardian, September 8, 2016